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Five Quick Tips for Career Development Over the Holidays

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The holiday season can be a great time to invest in yourself and your career development. In order to make the most of your time, though, you need to plan ahead. 

To jumpstart your professional success in 2023, here are five quick tips you can implement now:

  1. Take time for self-reflection
  2. Utilize holiday functions for networking
  3. Volunteer your time to others
  4. Learn new skills
  5. Record your accomplishments

Take time for self-reflection

Jennifer Porter, Managing Partner of The Boda Group, said in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Research has shown that reflection boosts productivity. Yet few leaders make time for it. Why? For one, they often don’t know where to start.”

The end of the year is the perfect time to practice self-reflection to encourage personal and professional growth.

If you don’t know where to start, pause to consider what you have accomplished and what you could improve. Create a mental or written highlight list of the year – what went well? What may have been a disappointment? Once you have recapped your professional endeavors from the last 12 months, take a few minutes to celebrate all you have done. Each effort you made was significant, regardless of the result. It’s important to realize the value of success and failure because each is a lesson in itself.

Research by Giada Di Stefano, Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano, and Bradley Staats in call centers demonstrated that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect.” – HBR

After taking the necessary time to reflect, put your pen to paper in order to determine your goals for 2023. Committing your goals to hardcopy forces you to really clarify what you want to accomplish. Keep in mind, your goals can change throughout the year, but it’s important to establish a starting point.

Utilize holiday functions for networking

The holiday season is a time for fun, festivity, and gathering together. This may not initially sound like networking, but it can be. Any time you’re talking with people and connecting, you’re expanding your network.

If you are looking to change jobs next year or want to pursue a promotion in the future, try making an effort to get to know new people this holiday season. Networking in December and January specifically can be easier given the lighthearted nature of events — it’s your time to shine! Whether you’re spending time at company parties, attending a neighbor’s get together, or celebrating at a family gathering, each event is an opportunity to build a bridge to the next step in your career.

The holidays are also a great time to reconnect with LinkedIn connections or colleagues from previous jobs. Try sending an email or wishing them a happy holiday to open the door for conversation about other topics.

Volunteer your time to others 

It can be easy when networking and focusing on your own career development to see it as a one-way street. But one of the easiest ways to build connections is giving back. This holiday season, look for ways you can give back to your network by volunteering or mentoring. 

Practical ways you can provide professional help to others:

  1. Write a reference letter for someone you worked with
  2. Provide a recommendation for a colleague on LinkedIn
  3. Endorse others for their skills on LinkedIn
  4. Meet up with former colleagues for coffee to learn more about them
  5. Post or vocalize your willingness to talk about your career path or conduct an informational interview with someone interested in your industry/role

Offering support and advice to someone now could lead to a potential job connection tomorrow.

Learn a new skill

Because many people will take vacation time in December and January, there are often fewer professional commitments. Use this additional time to learn a new skill or improve existing skills. Continually learning new things aids in self-discovery and can open the door for advancement or promotion opportunities.

Leadership and management skills are universally applicable qualities that require continued education. If you haven’t taken any business courses in a while, consider a course like the Invited MBA. Businesses programs that highlight a variety of leadership, decision-making, teamwork, communication, and finance skills are an effective way to cover many topics in a short amount of time. 

Investing in your future through continued education can help you create a larger network, access new job opportunities, and fine-tune your leadership skills. 

Record your accomplishments: Update your resume and online presence

Regularly updating your resume, regardless of where you are professionally, is critical to your career success. Having a current resume also makes it easy to share with potential clients or employers during the holidays.

If you haven’t looked at your resume or CV lately, take a few hours during the holiday season to update your document(s). With an accurate representation of your experience in hand, you will be equipped to succeed in the New Year.

Likewise, it’s important to update your LinkedIn and other professional profiles. Make it a habit to update your online presence any time you adjust your resume. Or, if you have a design portfolio or other collection of work, spend a few days making sure that is up to date as well.

This holiday season, as you think about your career trajectory, remember:

  • Your accomplishments deserve to be celebrated
  • Goals can be adjusted
  • It’s okay to slow down

The plans you make now can only benefit you in the future. Whether you have time to commit to one of these steps or all five of them, 2023 can be whatever you want it to be. Just get started.


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